In January 2016, the New Museum will host the first solo museum presentation in New York of the work of artist Pia Camil.
In her paintings, sculptures, performances, and installations, Camil draws inspiration from the inner-city landscape of her native Mexico City and from the history of modernism. Her projects expose the inherent problems as well as the latent possibilities within urban ruin, exploring what she refers to as the “aesthetization of failure.” For her Espectaculares series she hand-dyes and stitches together fabric to create curtains inspired by the abandoned commercial billboards that are ubiquitous in Mexico City, transforming the remnants of a dysfunctional commercial culture into theatrical environments. Recent projects such as Entrecortinas: Abre, Jala, Corre (2014) expand the scope of her practice to incorporate ceramic vessels and structural elements that invite the viewer to navigate through the exhibition space and experience shifting viewpoints and juxtapositions.
At the New Museum, Camil will present a new sculptural installation created specifically for the Lobby Gallery. Inspired by the modular display systems used by vendors, the artist will create a succession of gridwall panels with built-on hooks, shelves, and other fixtures commonly intended for store display. Composed of grids, lines, and geometric shapes, the structure will form a volumetric drawing within the space of the gallery, referencing cheap commercial constructions as well as the serial patterning in paintings and sculptures made by Minimalist artists such as Sol LeWitt or Agnes Martin.
The title of the exhibition refers to the potlatch: a ceremonial gift-giving festival practiced by the Native American peoples of the Pacific Northwest coast, for whom it was a central system of wealth redistribution.
For “A Pot for a Latch,” Camil will invite the public to participate in the ongoing creation of her piece, encouraging visitors to exchange their own unique items for others in the installation, thereby transforming the Lobby Gallery into a “shop” in which the monetary value of an object is supplanted by its personal history and significance.
The public is invited to exchange items on the following days:
Thursday December 17, 5–9 PM
During the first event, New Museum visitors will be able to swap their items for a limited edition sweatshirt designed by Pia Camil in collaboration with Lorena Vega.
On subsequent days, participants’ items will be exchanged for those items that are installed in the Lobby Gallery on that particular day.
Sunday February 7, 2–4pm
Sunday February 21, 2–4pm
Sunday March 6, 2–4pm
Sunday March 20, 2–4pm
Sunday April 3, 2–4 pm